The Night of December 13, 2015

Bottle of pills[Image: A full bottle of pills.]

I recently overdosed on Klonopin in a bout of self-harm and, while completely out of it, posted on Facebook that I needed a ride to the hospital. I stated that the overdose was an accident which happened while I was trying to get to sleep. I later clarified that this overdose was no accident, it was a form of self-harm that I had engaged in. My second post seems to have confused some people about what is a suicide attempt and what is self-harm and more pointedly, which one I was engaging in.

Allow me now to clarify the definitions of some terms:

Overdose: an excessive or dangerous use of a drug. Overdoses can be accidental, although in my case, it was not. However, overdoses are not always suicide attempts.

Self-harm: intentionally harming one’s body often without the intention of suicide.

Suicide attempt: an intentionally attempt to end your own life.

Self-harm is an often misunderstood coping mechanism which is very difficult to explain to someone who isn’t mentally ill and doesn’t suffer from these recurrent thoughts. What happened the night of December 13 was that I was trying to punish myself. I started out taking the Klonopin to help me sleep. But then I stayed awake and kept thinking of my most recent setback, the crushing guilt I felt, the dread that saturated my mind, the feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and hopelessness that had been plaguing me for weeks.

I kept taking more pills. When I started to become impaired it only spurred me on. I have no idea of the timeline of that night, but I remember downing small handfuls at one point. The only recollection I have are some very disturbing poems I wrote while I was taking the overdose.

According to the poems, I Googled Klonopin in order to figure out how much would kill me. I couldn’t find the exact information and lamented there existed no overdose calculator which could tell you how much you needed to end your life. I cataloged my disappointment that, apparently, Klonopin is only dangerous if you get addicted to it and a fatal overdose is almost impossible without ingesting huge amounts of the drug; far more than I had on hand.

Although I never consciously wanted to end my life, during my altered state, I was well aware that this was a possibility. I finally went to bed at some point, after taking either one or two narcotic pain pills which I had leftover from my breast reduction surgery earlier this year. When I woke up I was vomiting and aware that I needed to do something. So, instead of simply asking either of my roommates for a ride to the hospital, I got on Facebook.

I didn’t want to die. I experienced a setback and that compounded with whatever kind of mixed episode I’m in right now and led to me experiencing the all-too-familiar feelings of guilt and shame which drove me to start and continue taking pills. After the overdose, what I thought was a solid romantic relationship disintegrated, and I continued having thoughts of hurting myself.

I felt as though I had ruined the relationship and needed to be punished for it. I told myself that if only I had been more normal and didn’t have these mental health problems, everything would be fine. In an effort to prevent me from once again acting on my feelings of self-harm, I got rid of all of the excess pills I had, including a fresh refill of the Klonopin that I had gotten a few weeks before the overdose. I also reached out to a few people to chat when the need to hurt myself was becoming too strong for me to handle.

At this point, I realize I’m experiencing a bipolar episode and I need to be cautious. I also realize that I’m a person with a mental illness and I need the space and understanding that will help me work through these issues, not compound them. My desire to hurt myself may never go away entirely and I might not be able to stop myself from acting on it in the future, just as I was recently unable to.

However, I now recognize these old feelings of shame and worthlessness are futile. I am only capable of what I’m capable of and no one in my life should make me feel as though that isn’t enough and trigger these recursive negative emotions. I hope I can remember this the next time I’m in a situation where the desire to hurt myself arises and I have to fight it. Because it is a very difficult battle and one that I’m not always strong enough to fight.

Kindness and Weakness

from friends to lovers[Image: two people snuggling together on a dock underneath a red blanket.]

It takes a very strong person to be kind. It takes a strong person to know what kind of world we live in, how other people conduct themselves in that world, and choose to show kindness despite all of that. It never fails to sadden me how some people can see kindness, gentleness, compassion, and declare it weakness. The world hardens people. That’s what it does. It takes a much stronger person to still be kind after they have seen everything this world has to offer.

Imaginary Dinner Parties

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[Image: An opulently set table, ready for a dinner party.]

Hope Chest: also called dowry chest, cedar chest or glory box is a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life.

I have always wanted to get married. When I was 18 I took much-needed break between high school and college and started working retail. I worked at Tuesday Morning and Waterford Wedgwood outlet, of note. While I was there, I bought things. Lots of things. I bought practical items for my future house; I bought a set of towels for the guest bathroom, and I bought china, Wedgwood china, for dinner parties that I would imagine myself throwing with my husband and our friends.

Fast forward 12 years and, although I’ve used some of the items in this chest, the Wedgwood, the Waterford, the fine silverware remains untouched. I’ve literally had a full tea and coffee service set in Amesbury sitting in my closet for over a decade, waiting for the chance to throw a dinner party and use it.

Now, I come to find out that financial aid does not issue loans for summer semesters, instead it comes out of spring aid. I don’t get enough spring aid to throw down another 1.5k on the class I need to earn my degree. Although I’ve always held onto a secret hope that I would use this fine china and crystal one day, I think the time has come, I think it’s time to sell it.

It’s true, I will never be able to get what I got again and not at the prices that I got it for, but in the end, I feel like keeping it around it trying to avoid the reality that I’m not anywhere near a position where I am going to be hosting dinner parties with fine bone china and hand-cut crystal. It’s really just a fantasy. It was a nice fancy, let me assure you. And I held onto it out of stubbornness like I did with my birthday dress. But the time has finally come. No more imaginary dinner parties.

It’s strange to think back on the person you thought you’d become when you were too young to understand how the world works. I bought these treasures before my bipolar diagnosis (which might have had something to do with purchasing wildly inappropriate household items). Before so many things happened to me, both wonderful and terrible.

I still hope to get married some day. I still want the stability of a lasting relationship and the chance to love someone as passionately as I can. But none of those things require a Chatsworth oval platter or a matching set of Great Room goblets. Maybe I’ll never been the person in the position I thought I was going to be as a teenager. But that’s okay.

Life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would by any stretch of the imagination. However, that’s just what life is. And that’s fine.

The Unintelligent Audience: What Publishers Think of You

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[Image: Two people at a book store. They are both looking at an open book.]

Scene: A bookstore. Friends Taylor and Jack are looking through books. 

Taylor: Hey, are you finding anything?

Jack: Yeah, I found the latest book from my favorite author, Miriam Goldspun.

Taylor: That’s great! What’s it about?

Jack: It’s a detective story where a fast-talking gumshoe gets a case from a classy dame and has to follow clues which leads him into a mob shootout with his best girl at stake.

Taylor: Wow, that sounds exciting!

Jack: I hope it’s as good as her last book.

Taylor: What was her last book about?

Jack: It’s a detective story where a fast-talking gumshoe gets a case from a classy dame and has to follow clues which leads him into a mob shootout with his best girl at stake.

Taylor: That sounds exciting, too!

Jack: It wasn’t nearly as good as her first book though. That book was a detective story where a fast-talking gumshoe gets a case from a classy dame and has to follow clues which leads him into a mob shootout with his best girl at stake.

Taylor: Amazing. I can see why you love her writing so much.

Jack: Are you finding anything?

Taylor: Oh yeah, I just got a book from this up-and-coming author, Edith Marriner. It’s about a beautiful girl thrown into unfamiliar circumstances and rescued by a dashingly handsome man with a dark past who has to overcome his fear of love to let her into his life.

Jack: Sounds sweepingly romantic. Is this her first book?

Taylor: Oh no, this is her second. Her first book is about a beautiful girl thrown into unfamiliar circumstances and rescued by a dashingly handsome man with a dark past who has to overcome his fear of love to let her into his life.

Jack: Wow, awesome. That sounds like a good read, too.

Taylor: (Leaning into Jack and whispering,) I was reading on the internet this morning and do you know what I heard?

Jack: What?

Taylor: I read that there are these authors, self-published or something, and they write about different things.

Jack: What, like the different characters in different books have different names?

Taylor: No, like, one book they write will be a mystery, then one book they write will be a romance, then they might write poetry, or a memoir.

Jack: (Terrified.) W-what?

Taylor: Yeah, isn’t that crazy? It’s like they’re writing different books and they’re using the same name.

Jack: But they can’t do that! I need the comfort and safety of knowing that when I pick up an author’s book it’s going to be the exact same thing I’ve already read just with different character names! I want authors boxed into writing styles, genres, settings, time periods. I have to have each of them pigeonhole to the point where if they want to do something different they have to publish under a pen name! How can I trust the world when an author whose book I’ve read can write something not entirely similar to that book?!

Taylor: This is why they’re self-published. No publisher would ever allow this kind of chaos. It’s a good thing publishers are here to ensure that those crazy indie writers don’t come into the scene and confuse their audiences like that. Imagine becoming a fan of a writer and then perhaps not liking their next book because it’s not exactly what you’ve read before? How horrible would that be.

Jack: I mean, I might be tempted to read a genre I’m not familiar with. I might have to expand my interests or learn something new or… Oh god, I can’t even think about it.

Taylor: Let’s go back to looking at the regularly published authors and their books. Hey, did you hear about Cynthia Waterman’s new one? It’s about a small-time lawyer who gets pulled into a big-time case and has to make ethical decisions he never thought he would end up making.

Jack: Oh, I’ve heard of that one,  it’s called Blind Man’s Bluff.

Taylor: No, that was her last one. This is her new book, it’s called Blind Leading Blind.

Jack: But is it as good as Turn A Blind Eye?